After an impressive showing in Fullerton, Calif., at the Judi Garman Classic last weekend, head coach Yvette Healy praises assistant coach Randy Schneider's offensive leadership so far and previews the keys for continued success as the season moves forward.
Be on time: That's been the quote of the week from our offensive coordinator, assistant coach Randy Schneider. Timing is everything going into our final seven games before Big Ten play opens against Northwestern next weekend in Chicago. Our spring schedule has really challenged and prepared us to return to the Midwest and face some of the best competition in our region. We played our best softball of the season last weekend in California, with a big upset of #6/7 Arizona. That momentum is starting to build just in time, as we ramp up for the most competitive Big Ten field to date.
With our pitching staff, we're focusing on keeping hitters off balance, not letting them get comfortable. We have a lot of big offenses on the schedule in the weeks ahead. Our goal is to contain those hitters and teams. We know they'll get their hits yet we'll work to spread out the hits, not give teams extra base runners and pressure our opponents by eliminating the leadoff hitter each inning.
From an offensive standpoint, coach Schneider is emphasizing quality over quantity. It's about pressuring teams and getting key hits when it counts. I've been so impressed with Randy's offensive strategy and philosophy this season. It's not about getting more hits than our competition, it's about getting runners on base and creating pressure every inning. If you can do that, and come through with some timely hits when it counts, you have a chance to win games--even against the best opponents.
We still have some young players who have yet to emerge. Our message to those athletes is simple: work hard, study the game, continue to improve, believe in your skills and preparation and the success will come. That relentless optimism, focus and work ethic is what separates not only players, but people. If you can continue to work, train and believe, even when you're struggling, you'll be successful in life. We know there are three or four athletes on our team who have battled injuries and slow starts who could still be major factors in our team's success in the Big Ten and throughout this year. A slow start doesn't mean that success is impossible, it simply means we have more work to put in. Timing is everything.